Cardboard Castles and Other Amenities...

I am really interested in using different forms of cultural action to help build better communities. Communities are a vital social model, allowing us to tackle problems beyond the ability of individuals with the focus of a defined (usually relatively small) group of people. How do the arts and cultural work in general help communities grow more sustainable futures? If you have a cool website or project or your own ideas on these subjects please let me know.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Wir Hier: Ideas Before Objects

Branding is one of those simple, “evil” ideas that is being redefined in a really positive, sustainable way. Wir Hier (German only) is a German based community service design task-force doing interesting work re-defining society by redesigning how people interact.

Wir Hier began as a project at The Köln International School of Design for a competition hosted by London’s Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, which asked students to "design a service that helps us engage, re-configure, manage and live with" a contradictory situation of modern living.

To get the basics of the project check out Wir Hier’s magazine, Contradistinctions (PDF) or you can go to’s Wir Hier: The Intelligent Service System (This article is a little confusing).

There is a compel of interesting things about this project.

(T)hey felt that it was worthwhile not only to attempt to help people stop taking things for granted, but more importantly, prove to them what was possible when you use what already exists in a better manner.

Their work was focused on human resources being taken for granted, more than the objects not being used. They realized that objects were under used because of the way people think about their world.

(F)irst working on the idea of ‘Changing States of Mind’. They decided that it was important to learn how people can change the way they interact with their surroundings, and what phases they might go through when doing this.

But change, according to Wir Hier, is not sustainable within the individual:

Create Community: Once a change has begun to take place it is important that it no longer applies only to the individual. It has to take hold in a group of people for it to last.

Within a world that faces huge environmental and social problems, Wir Hier would suggest that community is necessary in order to sustainable enact the necessary changes to create a better world.


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